Social media is an ever-growing tool for many individuals, groups, and businesses. Its various incarnations allow people from around the world of all backgrounds to communicate with each other. It gives them the tools to express themselves verbally as in a blog, article, or post or visually using a photo or video. With more people having access and less relying on traditional media such as newspapers, radio, and television, it makes sense for any business to consider creating a Facebook page or posting on Instagram or Pinterest. Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, LinkedIn, or any other of the established and/or up-and-coming sites that proliferate the internet.
One group that has been slow to adopt this approach has been landscaping companies. Whether as designers or architects, the group as a whole has been reluctant to take on this new form of promotion. The question is, “Why?”
Why Not Engage?
There are many reasons landscape designers and companies have for not getting involved in social media. They include:
· A demand for constant monitoring and updating sites
· The need to post several times a week
· The understanding there is little to know instant gratification
· The realization that this is NOT a direct marketing tool
In addition, there is the generally changing face and nature of social media. Facebook, once the darling of the younger set, is now the playpen an older generation. This is the nature of the beast. What is now popular may not be so in a month, week, or year.
Why You Should Engage
While social media does require a constant input of photos, blogs, videos, and quick bits of information, this should not be looked at as a burden. It is a means of exposing the wider world to your company and its projects. It allows you to post:
· The progress of a project
· The completion of a project
· Upcoming events and events your company has participated in
· Community matters, particularly events you and your landscaping teams support or have created for the community in which you operate
· A variety of information pertinent to your profession e.g., Plants that do well in certain zones, what a water feature can do, the use of paving and/or other stones in landscape designs, native plants, etc.
· Awards or recognitions granted your landscaping company
· Professional organizations your company belongs to together with links
Links to your website are also beneficial. You can also post multiple links to the various social media you are currently found on. This increases your chances of taking an active and positive part in social media; you are disseminating information to specific demographics you may not be able to reach any other way.
Social media, therefore, can be considered an outreach tool. It is a way to build positive relationships with the online community. Social media is also a good way to connect with other landscape designers and companies. It opens up a dialogue that has no physical borders – allowing access to the world and providing a global perspective on the latest landscaping topics and designs.
Why Landscape Designers Need to Utilize Social Media
Social media is a tool. It requires skill. A learning curve is necessary before your tweets, Facebook page, Pinterest or Instagram Account, or even YouTube videos establish viewers a following and ratings. It takes patience. It also takes the time to carefully craft videos, photos, articles, and information that meets the criteria of each site.
This may seem aggravating, and for some, it is excruciatingly so. However, social media can work for your landscaping design company on several levels. It provides you with a connection to potential and actual clients. It also opens up the door for immediate and ongoing discussions and collaborations in real-time with other landscaping companies. If you have any doubts about whether you should launch yourself into the social media sea of turbulence and change, consider this. In 2019, Land8 introduced its Social Media Awards in Landscape Architecture. These clearly indicate the rising importance of social media for the landscaping profession.